Pope Benedict XVI attacked Marxism and unfettered capitalism as twin scourges of Latin America at the end of a trip to Brazil, a visit which has underlined but failed to reverse the Catholic church's waning influence in the region.
Would someone be kind enough to tell the Pope that oligarchy isn't "unfettered capitalism", but, instead, governmentally assisted oppression. The problem in Latin America hasn't been captialism, it's been government oppression and rule by an elite. In fact, capitalism would actually help, if it could ever establish itself. Of course, Latin America seems, instead, to be going in exactly the opposite direction, however.
As to his point about Marxism, I couldn't agree more:
The pontiff gave a blunt warning to priests to steer clear of leftwing politics, singling out communism as a baleful force. "The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit," he said on Sunday before his return to Rome.
A so-called pink tide has brought leftwing governments to power across the region, with Venezuela using its oil wealth to support them, but the 80-year-old Pope did not identify which countries he may have had in mind.
Heh ... of course one of them immediately figured it out and tried to soft-peddle the Pope's words:
Willian Lara, Venezuela's information minister, said the comments should not be construed as criticism of president Hugo Chávez's socialist zeal. "We all know that the current Pope is characterised as a conservative man, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we must automatically think that any word he utters is against Venezuela."
At the end of his five-day tour, his first to the Americas since becoming Pope two years ago, Benedict also condemned unbridled capitalism and globalisation for degrading personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness. Legalised abortion and contraception threatened the "future of the peoples", he said.
Unbridled capitalism? I'd love to know what that means to him. And globalization as well since I'm not convinced his understanding of both and mine would match at all.
And of course his last statement makes him, well, Catholic and a real favorite of these folks.
I sure would like to know what he'd see as the preferred 'system' of governance. And no, I don't believe it would be a theocracy (so save that claim for another day. I think even he knows that boat has sailed). But I'm not at all sure what it would be since I'm not sure he understands capitalism or globalization.
"I sure would like to know what he’d see as the preferred ’system’ of governance. And no, I don’t believe it would be a theocracy (so save that claim for another day. I think even he knows that boat has sailed). But I’m not at all sure what it would be since I’m not sure he understands capitalism or globalization."
This isn’t just the Pope’s personal opinion, it’s part of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The specific criticism of capitalism (and of Marxism) tends to derive from S. 3, C. 2, A. 3, on social justice. Thankfully the Catechism itself contains a summary:
1943 Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due.
1944 Respect for the human person considers the other "another self." It presupposes respect for the fundamental rights that flow from the dignity intrinsic of the person.
1945 The equality of men concerns their dignity as persons and the rights that flow from it.
1946 The differences among persons belong to God’s plan, who wills that we should need one another. These differences should encourage charity.
1947 The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities.
1948 Solidarity is an eminently Christian virtue. It practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones.
The following, in particular, often provides fodder:
1941 Socio-economic problems can be resolved only with the help of all the forms of solidarity: solidarity of the poor among themselves, between rich and poor, of workers among themselves, between employers and employees in a business, solidarity among nations and peoples. International solidarity is a requirement of the moral order; world peace depends in part upon this.
I would, however, note the importance of article 3 of chapter one of the same section, "Man’s Freedom," which would fit very well alongside Locke.
The preferred system of government within the Catholic Church would simply be one in which the individual is encouraged to act morally and to show a regard for the common good (and specifically one that is not theocratic actually, anyone suggesting so espouses some particularly poor theology).
Don’t kid yourself, McQ, when Benedict XVI says unbridled capitalism he means us, not whatever it is they have in Latin American countries. Like his predecessor, JPII, Benedict XVI is a European intellectual with the prejudices of the kind. What he knows about unbridled capitalism in the U. S. is what he reads in the newspapers.
I’m sure he, like JPII, is a genuinely good, decent, and well-meaning man but we’re all fortunate that popes are entrusted with souls and matters of faith and morals and not economies.